The US stock markets exhibited mixed results, as the Dow (+4.2%) and S&P 500 (+2.2%) showed strong gains, while the NASDAQ (-0.5%) lagged for the week. Taxable bonds were virtually flat, while tax-free muni bonds were up fractionally, extending their gains for the month. Thus far for the month of November, US stock markets are up nearly 10%, due mainly to election results showing a divided Congress, and the announcement by Pfizer that their potential vaccine may have a 90+% efficacy. In fact, markets are rocketing this morning, as Moderna also announced that they have discovered a vaccine with almost a 95% efficacy. In addition, US companies are showing strength in their earnings reports and US manufacturing continues to show strong growth. We are also exhibiting a reversal in market trends, as technology stocks have not been leading the way in this most recent rally. In fact, technology stocks have lagged their non-technology counterparts since the beginning of September.
Let’s not get too exuberant with the recent market rallies. While the markets have shown strength in the past couple weeks, we believe that there still remains significant risk that could derail their growth. The recent spike in COVID cases in the US may lead state and local governments to begin restrictions and lockdowns again, which could cause the economy to reverse course, particularly with small businesses. That said, this could also prompt the US government to push additional stimulus into the economy, which would be favorable. Further, there still isn’t a conclusion with regard to the divided government, as the Senate still has 2 more seats that will require a runoff on Jan 5. If both of those seats go to the Democratic party, then there could be a significant drop in the market, as we have noted in previous writings. Plus, the incumbent President is challenging the election results, which may provide additional uncertainty with our election. In short, the ride isn’t over, and it could get crazier.